There is no doubt that the tuner market is a rapidly changing segment of the population. Our second 2005 installment of In Tune is proof of this very fact as we delve into some "unconventional" areas of the marketplace.

In our last issue we highlighted some high-tech tuners with our story on hybrids, as well as the evolving technology of exhaust systems. We also looked at ways to market to the younger generation of tuners.

This time it became clear that we needed to draw attention to the extreme diversity of this market. "Tuners" have really evolved into performance enthusiasts who want, not need, to buy style for their vehicles. The stereotypical image of a youngster from Gen Y adding flashy wings to his import is no longer the only demographic to cater to. Performance enthusiasts can be old or young, male or female, and we bring that diversity to light.

In our cover story, "Lowriding for life" (page s6), Senior Editor Sativa Ross examines the recent growth spurt of the "lowrider" scene, and how it has progressed so much that some are confused about what to call these enthusiasts and their vehicles. A lowrider is a car or truck that has had its suspension modified to decrease its ground clearance, but the vehicle can be as diverse as those doing the modification. Big body Cadillacs, Monte Carlos and full-size Chevy and GM trucks are all showing up with elaborate interior work, custom paint jobs, outrageous sound systems and wire wheels.

Associate Editor Casey Clapper also examines a budding demographic: the female tuner. In "Betting on the girls" (page s10), we learn that there are a growing number of female performance enthusiasts that desire performance, looks and respect. Treating them as equals in the tuner segment is essential to securing their business.

Finally, Managing Editor Chris Miller takes a look at the evolving style of body kits in "Lean bodies make the scene" (page s14). Body accessories are much more refined this year, leading many to believe they are becoming more mainstream. In fact, appearance and body accessory sales across the industry were $9.5 billion last year.

Enthusiasts, both mild and hard-core, are making unique modifications to a wide-range of vehicles, giving the aftermarket many diverse areas to target. We hope you find this issue valuable, as we will continue to chase and unveil the latest trends in this ever-changing marketplace. Until then ... stay tuned.

COPYRIGHT 2005 Advanstar Communications, Inc.
COPYRIGHT 2005 Gale Group

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